The Project Wilberforce™ Campaigns

The Project Wilberforce™ campaigns were designed to end the Internet-enabled sexual exploitation of children and adults and restore a culture of dignity and respect. Each campaign, which began in 2014, is making great strides in raising awareness of the social costs of Internet pornography as a fueling factor in the sexual exploitation of children, violence against women, pornography addiction, the breakdown of marriage, sexual predation and sex trafficking. Project Wilberforce™ is emerging as a movement with the national success of the following Project Wilberforce™ campaigns:

Porn-Free Wi-Fi Campaign: A call to voluntarily offer safe Wi-Fi in cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, theme parks and other public venues in the United States

The Presidential Pledge: A pledge from our presidential candidates to hold law enforcement and government accountable by aggressively enforcing our existing laws designed to protect kids from pornography, child pornography, sexual predators and traffickers.

The Public Health Pornography Pandemic Campaign: The campaign continues to fuel the growing movement to shed light on the social costs    and corroding influence of Internet pornography as a public health epidemic

Recovering Hearts Program for Faith-based Cultures: The Recovering Hearts initiative serves as a blueprint for the faith-based community             designed to restore wholeness, purity, and dignity within the church.

Since 1994, Enough Is Enough®® (EIE) has aggressively pressed forward in the battle to prevent the sexual exploitation of children from Internet pornography and sexual predators. Like William Wilberforce, who pushed for social change and longed to make the world a better place, we have the ability to create a better world, a "beloved" community in which all people are respected with dignity.

The two main life goals of Wilberforce were to abolish slavery (a social evil) and to restore manners and decency (a social good) in England. It took Wilberforce and his band of friends, the Clapham circle, a lifetime to bring about such grand and revolutionary social change and abolish lesser social ills such as child labor.

Noble and worthwhile causes such as these often take a lifetime and include a strong network of devoted individuals and groups. Inspired by William Wilberforce’s desire for social change and for a better world, EIE choose the name "Project Wilberforce,” reflective of its own efforts to make the Internet safer for children and families and win the war against pornography. Its basis is centered on the resurgence of the respective roles of the Internet industry and government to be more pro-active in helping to achieve these goals.

This change is needed and, indeed, is possible. Just like the two-pronged Wilberforce model, EIE’s model fights against social evil and promotes social good, and is reflected in its mission as it relates to online safety:

Social evil—as it includes the harms of pornography and its related "porneia" issues (child pornography, sexual predation, pedophilia, sex trafficking, and the overall sex industry).

Social good—as it promotes a culture where all people are respected and valued and includes a childhood reflective of a protected age of innocence, healthy sexuality, and society free from sexual exploitation, particularly in the digital arena.

Of note, "porneia" means sexual immorality; therefore, pornography is the graphic depiction of such immorality. Graphic hard-core pornography has grown increasingly worse and more widespread over the years. As such, it is an epidemic worldwide and has fueled such vile evils such as sexual slavery and the growing three-billion-dollar child pornography industry, with the Internet as its primary distribution medium.

EIE’s mission to “Making the Internet safer for Children and Families” has been a twenty-year-plus marathon, not a sprint. The dream of EIE's first President, Dee Jepsen, to "change the way America thinks about pornography" has seemed impossible, until now. Many foundational bricks have been laid to set the stage for positive change, but these efforts have been stymied by multiple challenges, including:

  • The failure of the U.S. federal obscenity statutes to be enforced;
  • The overturn of the Child Online Protection Act (1998) by the Supreme Court in 2009 (COPA shut down the law designed to protect minor children from pornography by requiring porn websites to utilize age verification);
  • The underutilization of parental controls and filters by parents on Internet enabled-devices used by children
  • Open access Wi-Fi in the public squar

Despite these challenges and the fact that federal obscenity statutes have not been aggressively enforced, numerous peer-reviewed research studies continue to reveal the indisputable harms of pornography on children, women, men, health and culture, and the problem is getting worse. Children are getting exposed at younger ages resulting in a negative impact on the generations growing up with a steady diet of hardcore extreme pornography.

Consider the following from recent studies and surveys:

  • 36% of the Internet industry is hard-core pornography (BusinessInsider.com).
  • 97% of boys and 80 percent of girls who responded to the survey said they had viewed porn. Nearly a quarter of boys and eight percent of girls said they have tried to stop watching pornography but could not kick the habit. The study involved a survey of 177 young people between the ages of 16 and 20. (LifeSiteNews.com)
  • The online porn industry makes over $3,000 per second. (http://www.businessinsider.com)
  • Of the 304 scenes analyzed, 88.2% contained physical aggression, principally spanking, gagging, and slapping, while 48.7% of scenes contained verbal aggression, primarily name-calling. Perpetrators of aggression were usually male, whereas targets of aggression were overwhelmingly female. (Ana Bridges, et al., Violence Against Women, October 2010 vol. 16 no. 10, 1065-1085)
  • A study in the southeastern U.S. found that 53% of boys and 28 percent of girls (ages 12-15) reported use of sexually explicit pornography. The Internet was the most popular forum for viewing. (Brown, J. & L'Engle, K. 2009, Communications Research, X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents' exposure to sexually explicit media.)
  • American children begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11.
  • Youth who look at violent x-rated material are six times more likely to report forcing someone to do something sexual online or in-person versus youth not exposed to x-rated material. (Internet Solutions for Kids, Center for Disease & Control, November, 2010)
  • According to UK statistics released earlier this year, pornography and depictions of sexuality turned more than 4,500 British children - some of them as young as five - into sexual offenders between 2009-2012. (LifeSiteNews.com )

Other nations have already taken a stand and said “enough is enough!” In 2013, Great Britain's former prime minister, David Cameron, initiated a similar model to "Project Wilberforce,” which aligns with EIE's proposed ISP Code of Ethical Conduct that called on industry to adopt voluntary filtering settings (introduced at the Children's Online Summit in 1997). (ISP CODE OF CONDUCT) Additionally, Iceland, Russia and other nations have already implemented measures to stop the free flow of pornography via the Internet's public airways.

The key concept of the UK model is for Internet service providers to set the filtering defaults "on" to filter pornography rather than "off". Key aspects of the UK model include the following:

"Internet enabled device or internet-based service sold or supplied into the consumer market and likely to be owned or used by children or young people should, by default, come with filtering and blocking software preinstalled and operational to provide protection against exposure to adult content. An age-verified adult ought to be able to modify the preinstalled protective program settings or abandon them altogether, otherwise the defaults should remain";

"UK-based web hosting companies should ensure publishers making pornography available within the UK have an effective age verification process in place."

America's first amendment does not protect the free flow of pornography into the lives and minds of children. Most Americans are not aware that the United States Supreme Court has identified four categories of pornography that can be determined illegal. They include indecency, material harmful to minors, obscenity and child pornography. (Click here for more information about these categories.)  Both obscenity and child pornography are illegal for adults as well as children, yet are in abundance on the Internet. Indecency and material harmful to minors are illegal when distributed to minor children in print and broadcast, but no such laws currently exist with regards to the Internet. The bottom line is that children and adults have free and easy access to all categories of pornography online!

EIE has a unique relationship with Internet industry leaders given its promotion of industry software tools and 20-plus years of collaborating with industry leaders to increasingly adopt improved best practices and promote industry provided tools. Given the UK model that shifts the paradigm for industry to voluntarily adopt a "filtering default on" model (similar to EIE’s original ISP Code of Conduct) success of our mission is indeed within sight.

Please heed this call to action and join us in the pioneering effort to help create this paradigm shift. Together we can continue to enable millions of parents and caring adults to play an active and hands-on role in protecting children from dangers on the Internet, in homes, schools, and community centers across the nation. Let’s work together to push for the social change inspired by William Wilberforce and make the world a better place by making the Internet safer for children and families.